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© 2016 Manami Okazaki

Takumi: Downtown Tokyo Artisan Culture (Sep 2019) 

 220 pages, 7 x 1 x 9 inches

Takumi: Downtown Tokyo Artisan Culture looks at 32 artisan ateliers in the shitamachi district of Tokyo; the traditional commoner and merchant region of the Edo era. The book will feature craftspeople working out of small studios across downtown, creating exquisite items by hand. This is a rare glimpse into these spaces; from screen makers, kimono dyers, washi paper makers to glass blowers, presented in an accessible, lavish tome. With hundreds of photos, Takumi: Downtown Tokyo Artisan Culture offers a visual tour into downtown artisan life, with a focus on places that even a casual tourist can also visit as well. Interviews with the craftspeople also provide insight into the philosophy of the Japanese artisan.

While many travelers will visit the Asakusa area to marvel at Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple, most visitors are unaware of the rich culture that is present beyond the tourist areas. The region has retained many of the craft traditions of the Edo era, and the book also looks at aspects of urbanism such as bathhouses, shotengai shopping streets and nagaya architecture to highlight the inter-connectivity of all aspects of “old Tokyo” life.

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